As the cement heats up and the humidity sets in, an escape from New York can seem more than necessary — but if you truly can’t get out of town, know that it’s possible to escape the urban mania without leaving the city. The outer boroughs and even the northern limits of Manhattan contain what to many is a remarkable amount of nature in the form of bird refuges, landscaped museums and village-like islands, all accessible by public transit.
Below, five of the best staycations for New Yorkers looking for a getaway not too far from home.
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Located in the shadow of John F. Kennedy Airport on Broad Channel, the only inhabited island in Jamaica Bay (the body of water that separates mainland Queens and the Rockaways), Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a sanctuary not only for birds but city-dwelling nature lovers as well. A part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, the refuge boasts more than 330 bird species and a variety of habitats, including a salt marsh and a portion of the bay.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
How to get there from Brooklyn: Take the A train to the Q53 bus, or take the A train to Broad Channel and walk the better part of a mile.
An abandoned army base and one of Brooklyn’s cleaner beaches, Fort Tilden is a haven from the manic energy of the city as well as a look into New York’s military past. Fort Tilden encompasses an isolated swath of Queens, which compensates for its lack of cell service with expansive views and fresh air.
Hours: Dawn to dusk, daily
How to get there from Brooklyn: In the summer months only, the New York Beach Ferry will take you to Riis Landing, a mile and some away from Fort Tilden. “If taking bus,” New York Harbor Parks recommends, “ask the driver to let you off at Fort Tilden.”
This small, 1.5-mile-long island is located in the Bronx, off Pelham Bay Park. Packed with seafood restaurants, yacht clubs, a Nautical Museum and a New England-like energy, the area is quaint, pleasant, and seemingly a world away from the rest of the city. Activities are limited, but food options are plentiful, and the village-like area is anomalous enough to merit the trek.
How to get there from Brooklyn: Take the 6 train to the end of the line and then take the BX29 bus over the City Island Bridge.
A 28-acre public garden and cultural center in the Bronx,
Wave Hill is located alongside the Hudson River and the Palisades. Dotted with stone paths and stunning views, the park is known for its horticultural gardens and sloping landscapes.
Cost: $8 for adults, $4 for students and seniors and $2 for children
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday
How to get there from Brooklyn: Free shuttle vans will meet you at the Metro-North Riverdale Station or at the 242nd Street stop on the 1 train.
The Cloisters is a museum — an offshoot of the Metropolitan Museum of Art –that focuses on medieval European art. It features an impressive collection of sculpture and decorative work, including such well-known pieces as the Unicorn Tapestries. The museum building itself is a work of art, and was built based on the layouts of 12th-century Benedictine abbeys and other historically relevant religious buildings.
Cost: Admission, which is suggested, is $25 for adults, $17 for seniors, $12 for students, and free for children under 12 and members.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. daily March through October, and 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. (7:30 p.m. on Fridays) May through September
How to get there from Brooklyn: Take the A train to 190th Street, transfer to the M4 bus and ride it one stop north.
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